Alliance for Building Conservation / Buildings at Risk

Tue, 24 May 2016

Alliance for Building Conservation / Buildings At Risk

In 2014 and early 2015 the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society (IoMNHAS), concerned at the continued neglect of the Island’s built heritage, and lack of support for Building Conservation, was considering ways of raising awareness of the plight of our built heritage and how the situation might be improved, especially in view of the vast backlog for the Protected Buildings Register. In June 2015, IoMNHAS made contact with a number of other like-minded voluntary bodies; but following Charles Guard's Petition to Tynwald in July 2015, and the resultant formation of the 'Building Conservation Network' (later the 'Building Conservation Forum') by IOM Government, decided to wait.

The Alliance for Building Conservation (“ABC”) stems from Autumn of 2015 when IoMNHAS, alarmed at the continued neglect of the Island’s built heritage, and continued lack of progress with building registration, offered to host a meeting with like-minded groups to discuss what might be done to highlight and promote awareness of the plight of vulnerable buildings, and potentially provide a mutual-support forum.

To date, membership comprises almost all the active Heritage Trusts on the Island (Rushen, Castletown, Foxdale, Peel, Ballaugh, Laxey & Lonan, Onchan, Kirk Michael, Ramsey), IoM Victorian Society, Save Mann’s Heritage, the IoM Steam Railway Supporters Association, and the Antiquarians (as co-ordinators/secretariat).

Since inception, the main achievements of ABC are in raising awareness of the plight of our built heritage (including our Buildings at Risk articles) which has had an impact with the Planning Committee, politicians and the wider public; and we have provided mutual assistance with planning matters; we are also trying to drive through improvements to the Building Registration process to make it transparent, robust and accountable. ABC recognises that the key to a building’s longevity is continued usefulness, and its life may evolve – hence the emphasis on Sustainable Conservation rather than Preservation.

Buildings at Risk, which runs every fortnight in the IOM Examiner, is the title given to our series of articles which tries to shine a light on buildings currently at risk, buildings which have been lost, and ways in which buildings can find a sustainable future - in the hope that raising awareness of the plight and potential of our built heritage will help the public, politicians etc. value them better. These articles also provide a platform to highlight flaws and suggest improvements in the way our built heritage - dwellings, commercial and other structures, Registered and otherwise - is treated by Government, Planners, developers and property owners.  These articles can be read in IOM Examiner and via links to our online archives on the ABC website